The BRAD BLOG https://bradblog.com Because it's not about Right or Left, it's about Right and Wrong! Fri, 14 Aug 2020 01:57:54 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.0.2 en In Plain Sight: Trump Admits to Crippling U.S. Postal Service In Hopes of Stealing the Election: 'BradCast' 8/13/2020 https://bradblog.com/?p=13527 https://bradblog.com/?p=13527#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2020 01:37:28 +0000 Brad Friedman Florida Election Reform Pennsylvania Iowa BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Election Fraud Photo ID Laws Democrats Republicans Joe Biden Vote-by-Mail EPA Fracking KPFK Donald Trump Oil Rhode Island BradCast Kamala Harris Election 2020 Larry Kudlow Coronavirus/COVID-19 U.S. Postal Service Louis DeJoy https://bradblog.com/?p=13527 On today's BradCast: Well, at least he's saying it out loud now. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The President of the United States is rejecting the plea --- from his own personally-appointed, Republican-majority, Postal Board of Governors for $25 billion to save the U.S Postal Service from collapse and a $3.5 billion request from the nation's bi-partisan elections officials to help harden election infrastructure for security purposes and to accommodate a huge Presidential election in the middle of a deadly global pandemic --- because he is trying to steal the election. While he doesn't use the words "steal the election", he and his administration are now making very clear they are trying to do just that. And, of course, ham-fistedly lying about it at the same time by claiming that Democrats, somehow, are hoping to "rig" the election.

The Trump/GOP megadonor, Louis DeJoy, just appointed as Trump's Postmaster General in June, has been busy issuing directives to slow down mail delivery, despite the explosion in Vote-by-Mail expected during this November's election, as necessitated by Trump's own failed coronavirus response. This week we have also learned that DeJoy has removed or reassigned some 23 top USPS officials who manage mail delivery and that 19 huge postal sorting machines, which process some 35,000 pieces of mail an hour, have now been removed or are scheduled to be removed from at least 19 different mail distribution sites across the country. That was confirmed by Motherboard today after initially being reported on NPR by the President of the Iowa Postal Worker's Union.

It is happening in plain sight. On Wednesday at his White House presser, and again on Thursday, Trump conceded that if he doesn't agree to a new COVID-19 emergency relief bill to help the nearly 30 million now-unemployed Americans; cash-strapped states and cities; hospitals; schools; and, yes, elections officials and the U.S. Post Office itself, he believes he will stop voters from successfully casting a ballot through the mail this November.

That works great for him, because he's hoaxed his own GOP supporters into believing absentee voting is fraudulent (except in Florida, where he, himself, does it ILLEGALLY) or unnecessary, because the virus is "disappearing, like a miracle." Many duped Republicans will now needlessly risk infection and death to vote for him at the polling place on Election Day, while huge numbers of NOT-disinformed Democrats are expected to use Vote-by-Mail to avoid potential death from voting in-person. Trump will then declare himself the winner on Election Night, with more Republican votes quickly counted from in-person voting, before declaring the slower-to-tally absentee ballots (which need to be manually authenticated one-by-one before they can be run through computer tabulators --- if they even arrive on time to be counted after the USPS slowdowns) as "fraudulent". Attempts to count all lawfully cast ballots after Election Day will then be characterized as an attempt by Democrats to steal the election. That's the plan. It's simple, evil, anti-American, and its happening right before your eyes.

Even one of Trump's top White House economic advisers admitted on CNBC today that "we don't want to have voting rights." That, said Larry Kudlow, out loud, about the effort by Democrats to include election and USPS funding in their emergency relief proposal is "not our game and the President can't accept that kind of deal."

Voting rights advocates, supporters of democracy, and Democrats in Congress are hopping mad, as they should be. So is one of the nation's largest veterans groups. But, of course, Trump knows that, as a failed President, if he doesn't rig the election to steal it he is very likely to lose it. So, yes, he is attempting to steal a Presidential election right before our eyes.

We break down ALL of that down --- in much more detail --- on today's show, along with at least one bit of good news on elections today coming from the U.S. Supreme Court, of all places, if you can believe it.

Finally, we close with Desi Doyen (whose name keeps popping up in the strangest places these days) and our latest Green News Report with a review of presumptive Democratic Veep candidate Kamala Harris' record on environmental justice; the Trump EPA's rollback of Obama-era methane pollution rules at the request of the oil and gas industry; some very good news for the nation's migratory birds; and yet another fossil fuel disaster, this time in Pennsylvania...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
[See post to listen to audio]

* * *
While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
* * *

MONTHLY BRAD BLOG SUBSCRIPTION
ONE-TIME DONATION


Choose monthly amount...


(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)


]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=13527 'Green News Report' - August 13, 2020 https://bradblog.com/?p=13526 https://bradblog.com/?p=13526#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2020 18:40:58 +0000 Desi Doyen Pennsylvania Environment Democrats Republicans Joe Biden Green News EPA Donald Trump Natural gas Oil Wind Solar Climate change Dept. of Interior Public lands Kamala Harris Election 2020 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Green New Deal Pollution https://bradblog.com/?p=13526

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Joe Biden selects environmental justice champ Kamala Harris as his Vice Presidential running mate; Trump EPA rolls back methane pollution rules to profit the oil and gas industry; Good news for the nation's birds; PLUS: Another new fossil fuel spill, this time in Pennsylvania... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO HELP US WITH A (MUCH-NEEDED) DONATION to celebrate 1000+ episodes of independent, listener-supported climate, energy and environmental news! Thank you!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

Link:
Embed:

Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 5 Lessons from the Pandemic to Tackle Climate Change; Trump administration eases showerhead rules; Colorado Is Still Really, Really Dry; Trump’s Border Wall Is the ‘Biggest Threat’ to Southwest Wildlife, Government Emails Reveal; Air pollution is much worse than we thought; Midwest Derecho Devastates Iowa Corn Crop. Satellites Show Damage; Antarctica’s Ice Shelves Have Lost Millions of Metric Tons of Ice... PLUS: Greenland ice sheet claims life of renowned climate scientist... and much, MUCH more! ...

STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

For a comprehensive roundup of daily environmental news you can trust, see the Society of Environmental Journalists' Daily Headlines page


FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • NASA Video: If we don't act, here's what to expect in the next 100 years:

  • ]]>
    https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=13526
    GOP Secretaries of State Crank Up Mail-in Vote Suppression in GA, KY, OH: 'BradCast' 8/12/2020 https://bradblog.com/?p=13525 https://bradblog.com/?p=13525#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2020 01:57:12 +0000 Brad Friedman Ohio Election Reform North Carolina Pennsylvania Georgia BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Rights And Freedoms Minnesota U.S. Senate Kentucky Joe Biden Vote-by-Mail KPFK Donald Trump BradCast Kamala Harris Election 2020 Ilhan Omar Brad Raffensperger Frank LaRose Coronavirus/COVID-19 U.S. Postal Service Madison Cawthorn Trump Campaign Marjorie Taylor Greene Michael Adams https://bradblog.com/?p=13525 On today's BradCast, we look at noteworthy results after Tuesday's state primary elections in Minnesota, Georgia, Wisconsin, Vermont and Connecticut. But we begin with problems voting on Tuesday in (where else?) Georgia, and the quickly expanding efforts by Republican Secretaries of State in key battlegrounds to make mail-in voting as difficult as possible this November, as per Donald Trump's bidding.

    In Georgia, as we noted on yesterday's show, despite a successful program to help keep voters safe amid the coronavirus pandemic by sending absentee ballot applications to all active registered voters during the June primary, their Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger has decided not to do so again before the November general elections, despite the spike in COVID infections and deaths in the state since then. A record 5 million Georgians are expected to vote (or try to) this year, when the battleground state is hoped by Democrats to finally flip from "red" to "blue for the first time in decades in the Presidential race and when there are not one, but two vulnerable GOP U.S. Senate Seats on the ballot as well.

    In Kentucky, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing a challenge from Democratic former fighter pilot Amy McGrath, we're seeing an echo of Raffensperger's attempt to suppress the vote in November. Despite a largely successful June primary, when there were no restrictions on which voters were allowed to request an absentee ballot, the state's Republican Sec. of State Michael Adams on Tuesday submitted a plan to the Governor to restore restrictions, limiting absentees largely to the elderly and those with preexisting health conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19. That, despite the widely praised procedures used in June in the Bluegrass State, where the rate of infections and deaths has also spiked since the mid-summer primary. Adams' absurd excuses for the proposed restrictions on Vote-by-Mail reveal that this is much more about suppression than safety or efficiency. For example, while claiming that election officials and the U.S. Postal Service will be overwhelmed in processing the number of absentee ballots if Kentucky again allows no-excuse absentee voting, Adams is also proposing that only ballots that arrive by Election Day may be counted. Previously, officials had a week after Election Day to process ballots post-marked by then, but which arrived in the days following. Luckily, Kentucky now has a Democratic Governor who may need to approve (or veto) Adams' plan before it can be enacted.

    In the neighboring perennial swing-state of Ohio, where Joe Biden and Donald Trump are believed to be neck-and-neck this year, Republican Sec. of State Frank LaRose announced on Wednesday that he is barring county Boards of Election from offering more than one single secure drop-box per county for depositing Vote-by-Mail ballots. After waiting for three weeks for an opinion from the Republican Attorney General as to whether the state's 88 counties could legally deploy extra drop-boxes, LaRose announced today that he could wait no longer. He says he believes it is now too late to make any changes to how the election will be administered. So there must only be one drop-box outside of each County's elections office. He also claimed that adding extra drop-boxes would result in lawsuits like the one filed by the Trump Campaign in late June in Pennsylvania, which argues that the use of drop-boxes in that key battleground state --- where they were successfully deployed without problem during the state's June primary --- is actually unconstitutional.

    These are voter suppression attempts, period. Trump and his cronies are attempting to steal the election in plain sight. Don't. Let. Them. Inform yourself and make plans for safely voting this year NOW.

    Then, we're joined once again by HOWIE KLEIN of the "Down With Tyranny!" blog and the progressive BlueAmerica PAC. He has been offering analysis on the show of late, from a progressive perspective, on the late season state primary results. Today, after sharing his thoughts on Joe Biden's new running-mate Kamala Harris (he is "not a fan") and who he might like to see appointed to fill her U.S. Senate seat if Democrats win, we cover freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar's win in the Democratic Primary in Minnesota 5th Congressional District on Tuesday against an AIPAC-supported challenger.

    Then we discuss the win by Marjorie Taylor Greene --- a QAnon conspiracy theorist who has proudly made racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic statements --- in the Republican primary run-off in Georgia's 14th Congressional District. For some reason, AIPAC did not fund her challenger, despite her unapologetic anti-Semitic remarks, and the fact that she is most likely headed to Congress after easily winning her runoff in a very Republican district.

    Nor did AIPAC manage to fund a challenger to 25-year old Republican Madison Cawthorn, an apparent Nazi sympathizer in North Carolina who Klein writes about today, and who appears likely to win the seat vacated by Trump's latest Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows this November. "They love him on the right," says Klein. "They're already seeing him as a future US Senator."

    Klein also offers a preview of next Tuesday's state primaries in Florida where a progressive group outside of the state Democratic Party has worked, for the first time, to recruit Democratic candidates to run in each of the Sunshine State's 27 Congressional districts. "I always say the Florida Democratic Party is lucky that there's an Ohio Democratic Party, because otherwise the Florida Democratic Party would be the worst, instead of the second worst in the country," he says. "So the environmental caucus recruited all of these great candidates. The Democratic Party flipped out. ... But there's a really, really good roster of state legislative candidates and, on top of that, there are several excellent Democrats running for the U.S. Congress," he tells me, specifically citing Adam Christensen in Florida's 3rd Congressional District.

    Finally, we close with a bit of Kamala Harris' remarks today from Delaware, where she and Biden appeared together for the first time since he named her as his running mate for the 2020 Democratic Presidential ticket...

    Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]

    * * *
    While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
    * * *

    MONTHLY BRAD BLOG SUBSCRIPTION
    ONE-TIME DONATION


    Choose monthly amount...


    (Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)


    ]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=13525 BIDEN PICKS HARRIS; Also: Mystery Solved on GA's 'Lost' Computer-Tabulated Votes in June Primary: 'BradCast' 8/11/2020 https://bradblog.com/?p=13524 https://bradblog.com/?p=13524#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2020 02:09:22 +0000 Brad Friedman Election Irregularities California Election Reform Georgia BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Connecticut Wisconsin Vermont Touch-Screen DREs/BMDs Environment Minnesota Voter Registration Democrats Joe Biden Vote-by-Mail Dominion Voting KPFK Natural gas Canada Climate change Extreme weather BradCast Kamala Harris Election 2020 Brad Raffensperger Baltimore https://bradblog.com/?p=13524 On today's BradCast: Two mysteries solved in one single, if hectic, show! [Audio link to full show is posted at end of article.]

    The first is the mystery of who presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden would select as his Vice-Presidential partner. Now we know. Less than an hour before showtime today, it was announced that California's first-term U.S. Senator Kamala Harris will become the first black woman (and first South Asian American woman) to be part of a major party's Presidential ticket. On short notice, we were able to scrounge up the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo blog to join us for her "top-line, knee-jerk, hot-take" response to the big news and how she thinks it will play both among the electorate at large and the far, FAR more picky progressive electorate.

    Parton, a progressive herself, who says she was rooting for Elizabeth Warren to be named for the slot, describes Harris as a "a very skilled politician"; argues that her selection "says something nice about Biden"; discusses the "legitimate concerns that progressives have had about Harris"; and whether she believes "the Left" will be able to "put aside their differences" to get behind the ticket, before "going to fight tooth and nail about the things that we care about" in the event that Biden actually becomes President next January.

    Today's other solved mystery is much trickier. And it has to do with Georgia, which is holding primary runoff elections today, along with state primary elections on Tuesday in Vermont, Connecticut, Minnesota and Wisconsin. (We'll have noteworthy results from all of those states, as available, on tomorrow's BradCast, of course). Naturally, because it's Election Day in Georgia --- a key battleground state which some believe could finally flip from "red" to "blue" this year for the first time in decades --- there are problems at the polls. While hopefully not as terrible as the meltdown caused by the state's new unverifiable touchscreen voting systems and electronic pollbooks that resulted in hours-long lines in largely Democratic-leaning precincts during the state's June primary, we have early indications that the same, new, overly-complex, computerized voting systems failed voters again today in at least some of the 94 (of 159) counties participating in today's runoffs.

    Despite that distressing (if unsurprising) news today in Georgia, there was some good-ish news from the State Elections Board (SEB) there. They met on Monday to adopt new procedures in advance of the November 3rd Presidential election. The SEB unanimously agreed to allow voters to request absentee ballots for November via a new online webpage to go live by the end of the month. That's good news for those who have easy online access. But, shamefully, it comes along with the news that Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, after successfully sending out Vote-by-Mail applications to all of the state's active registered voters before the June primary, will NOT be doing so before this year's Presidential election. Apparently, that plan worked too well and allowed too many to easily vote from home, when they might otherwise have had to struggle with long lines and Raffensperger's failed electronic voting systems at the polling place in the middle of an ongoing global pandemic.

    Also at Georgia's SEB meeting on Monday, the Board agreed to make a change to the state's new computer-tabulation systems that scan and count those hand-marked paper absentee ballots. (Voters at the polls are forced to use unverifiable touchscreen systems.) The SEB's change to a software setting on the systems came about, thanks in no small part, to our guest today, JEANNE DUFORT of the Coalition for Good Governance.

    Following the June primaries, Dufort was on a bi-partisan citizens' panel reviewing digital images of hand-marked paper absentee ballots on which the computerized digital-scanners believed there were over-votes with, for example, more than one oval in a single race seen by the computer as being filled in. State law requires manual examination of such ballots to determine if the voter's intent is discernible or not. While reviewing those ballots, Dufort and the other panelists in Morgan County noticed that the tabulation system had marked some clearly discernible votes on many of those same ballots as containing "no vote". Why were those votes not counted by the new, $100 million tabulation system made by the Canadian firm Dominion Voting? And would elections officials manually examine ALL of the hand-marked ballots to count those "lost" votes? As Dufort told us on this program at the time she discovered the problem after the June primary, there were potentially tens of thousands of perfectly legitimate votes that had gone uncounted.

    Well, today we finally have the answer to the mystery of why the system had failed to count some of those votes. It has to do with a sensitivity setting on the digital optical-scan tabulators that the Secretary of State's office claims they did not originally know about when they initially dismissed Dufort's concerns back in June. That setting, apparently, directs the computer to ignore votes in which less than 12% of the bubble was filled in. (Often, instead of inking in the entire bubble, voters will use a check-mark or an X. While the voter's intent is easily discernible to the human eye, the new computers that tabulate votes were set to record such marks --- that filled less than 12% of the bubble --- as a "no vote".)

    "It assigns it a 'percentage of fill'," Dufort tells me. "In our case in Georgia, what we later found out was that these Dominion factory settings said if a vote was deemed to cover more than 35% of that area...if the threshold percentage hit 35% or above, the system said, 'Yep, that's a vote! It counts!' If the threshold was between 12-35%, it said, 'that's ambiguous, I'm not sure something is there, better get a human to look at it.' If it fell below 12%, it said, 'I see that, but it's not a vote, so I'm going to label it unvoted, and I'm not even going to call it to the attention of the humans.'"

    While Dufort says that it is good news that the SEB has now agreed to lower the bottom of the software sensitivity range setting to 10%, the longtime Election Integrity advocate says that she and others in the state believe it should be set lower still, to avoid more lost votes, in advance of the Presidential Election. "We think 10% is still too high," she says. "So we're going to be out talking to them. This rule is out for 30 days of public comment. We'll be saying thank you, but you really need to take it down to 5, which we have learned is what Colorado uses. And they've been doing hand-marked paper ballots statewide for a very long time. We think that's a good benchmark for Georgia."

    She also observes that the the old settings, less sensitive settings, are still being used to tally today's runoff elections, which could be a problem in the event of close races. Moreover, she explains, "the color of the ink [and] the brand of the ink in your pen can change how the computer measures it." We discuss all of that, how the changes may affect results this November, and whether we should be worried that such a software setting could be abused by ill-intentioned election insiders (or hackers) in the critical battleground state (or others that use similar systems) during the Presidential election.

    Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more deadly fossil fuel disasters, a warning about this year's already-record Atlantic Hurricane season, and some very disturbing climate change news out of Canada, where the last intact ice shelf has finally collapsed and broken away...

    Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]

    * * *
    While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
    * * *

    MONTHLY BRAD BLOG SUBSCRIPTION
    ONE-TIME DONATION


    Choose monthly amount...


    (Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)


    ]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=13524 'Green News Report' - August 11, 2020 https://bradblog.com/?p=13523 https://bradblog.com/?p=13523#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2020 18:19:10 +0000 Desi Doyen Maryland Environment Green News Donald Trump Natural gas Canada Oil Climate change Extreme weather Arctic NOAA Baltimore https://bradblog.com/?p=13523

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: More fossil fuel disasters --- Deadly natural gas explosion levels homes in Baltimore; Fuel spill creates ecological disaster for island nation Mauritius; Buckle up for a hyperactive hurricane season; July 2020 was the third hottest July ever recorded globally; PLUS: And then there were none --- Canada's last intact ice shelf collapses... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

    PLEASE CLICK HERE TO HELP US WITH A (MUCH-NEEDED) DONATION to celebrate 1000+ episodes of independent, listener-supported climate, energy and environmental news! Thank you!

    Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

    Link:
    Embed:

    Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

    IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Trump EPA lifts controls on climate-warming methane; Interior proposes easing royalty calculations for public lands extraction; Deadly derecho leaves path of destruction across Midwest; Investors launch climate plan to get to net zero emissions by 2050; Warming world will be 'devastating' for frozen peatlands; Big oil remembers 'friend' Trump with millions in campaign funds; BP's green energy targets will be tough to meet... PLUS: 'As the tundra burns, we cannot afford climate silence': a letter from the Arctic... and much, MUCH more! ...

    STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

    'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

    For a comprehensive roundup of daily environmental news you can trust, see the Society of Environmental Journalists' Daily Headlines page


    FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • NASA Video: If we don't act, here's what to expect in the next 100 years:

  • ]]>
    https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=13523
    Failed Primary in PR; 100k Infected Kids in Two Weeks; Trump's Pretend Relief 'Executive Orders': 'BradCast' 8/10/2020 https://bradblog.com/?p=13522 https://bradblog.com/?p=13522#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2020 01:43:34 +0000 Brad Friedman Election Irregularities Florida Georgia BRAD BLOG Media Appearance U.S. Constitution Education Voter Registration Vote-by-Mail Economy KPFK Donald Trump BradCast Puerto Rico CDC Election 2020 Coronavirus/COVID-19 U.S. Postal Service Louis DeJoy https://bradblog.com/?p=13522 On today's BradCast: This is not a drill. In my nearly-two decades of covering elections, I've never been as concerned about attempts to undermine an election than I now am regarding this year's Presidential election on November 3rd. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

    Last Friday's BradCast interview with American Postal Worker Union President Mark Dimondstein, regarding the mandates by Louis DeJoy, Trump's newly-appointed Postmaster General, to slow down the mail "everywhere" --- and DeJoy's Friday Night Massacre that took place moments after we got off air --- are just some of the huge reasons for my concern. Please make sure that you are prepared, well in advance, for this year's election, and that you know how to not only receive a Vote-by-Mail ballot, as necessary for many due to the pandemic, but that you know what the deadlines are for registering to vote, requesting a VBM ballot, and where and how to drop it off IN PERSON, so your ballot doesn't get lost in Trump's USPS slowdown. Once you've learned all of that, please make sure everyone you know does the same. Ernie Canning has written a helpful article at Bradblog.com with some important related tips, and 2020VotersCalendar.org is a very helpful new website resource with specific information along these lines for voters in each of the 50 states.

    Over the weekend, Puerto Rico's primary was a disaster, as ballots did not arrive at all --- or far too late for many to vote --- in 50 out of 110 voting centers across the island. A second make-up election is now being planned, hopefully, for next Sunday. If something like that happens on November 3rd, of course, all may be lost.

    In the meantime, just days after Donald Trump falsely claimed that children were "almost immune" to the coronavirus, a new report finds that nearly 100,000 children in the US tested positive for it in just the last two weeks of July alone. That's a 40% increase in child coronavirus cases during those two weeks in the U.s. jurisdictions researchers examined. At least 86 children have died from COVID-19 since May, the report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association also finds, including a 7-year old with no pre-existing conditions in Georgia last week.

    This coincides with the mind-boggling push by Trump to reopen schools for in-person classes immediately, as a number of states run by Trumpy Governors press forward with plans to do so. One such state is Georgia, where some schools opened for the new term already last week and saw photos of crowded hallways and maskless children go viral on social media almost immediately (before suspending the student who posted them). Now that same school is returning to distance learning this week after six students and three staff members at the school tested positive. Other school districts in the state reported even worse numbers.

    In Florida, where two teenagers have died so far this month, at least 12 counties are reopening schools this week, more than 17% of tests are now coming back positive. The CDC recommends schools only reopen where the positive test rate is lower than 5%, yet at least 9 of the 12 school districts planning to open in the Sunshine State are currently seeing rates much higher than that. That, as nearly 165,000 are confirmed to have died from COVID in the U.S. and new data from the CDC finds 200,000 more deaths since mid-March than would normally be expected at this time of year, based on recent trends before the pandemic.

    As bad as its all getting, the White House appears unwilling to compromise with Democrats on a new COVID emergency relief bill, despite tens of millions of Americans who saw their expanded federal unemployment benefits from an earlier relief bill expire at the end of July. In response, rather than negotiate or demonstrate the art of his pretend deal-making prowess, Trump spent the weekend playing golf and signed one Executive Order and three Executive Memos that pretend to do a whole bunch of stuff that they actually don't and are most likely unconstitutional to boot. One of his executive actions, to temporarily defer payroll taxes for those who are working (the taxes will have to paid at the end of the year instead), would actually cut funding to Social Security and Medicare. Another would take money from FEMA to restore some of the expanded unemployment benefits, but slash them by a third, prevent them from being paid to the lowest-income earners, and require cash-strapped states pay 25% percent of the expanded payments.

    Yet, there is no effort in his executive actions to bailout states and cities who are now completely out of money due to their COVID-related crash in revenues. Many couldn't help fund the expanded unemployment even if they wanted to. Similarly, there is no effort to fund the Post Office with the $25 billion that its GOP-dominated Board of Governors has requested to keep the USPS running. And no effort to give $4 billion to election officials around the country to help upgrade their systems to help manage the huge influx of absentee voting due to COVID or even to help make in-person voting safer, as election officials across the country have long sought.

    In short, the weekend's news was terrible and the news ahead is likely to get nothing but worse for a while. But we thought you should know it, since the President of the United States --- who said his executive actions this weekend "will take care of pretty much this entire situation, as we know it" --- continues lying to the nation in hopes that it will somehow help him get reelected. It won't. But stealing the election remains completely on the table and actively under way.

    Finally, we open up the phones to callers on all of the above. And, though I specifically asked several times, I couldn't seem to find one listener willing to call in and explain why they would be happy to send their kids back to in-person classes right now. Go figure.

    Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]

    * * *
    While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
    * * *

    MONTHLY BRAD BLOG SUBSCRIPTION
    ONE-TIME DONATION


    Choose monthly amount...


    (Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)


    ]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=13522 Overcoming Trump's Vote-By-Mail Obstacles https://bradblog.com/?p=13511 https://bradblog.com/?p=13511#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2020 17:05:08 +0000 Ernest A. Canning Florida California BRAD BLOG Election Reform Colorado Oregon Connecticut Rights And Freedoms U.S. Constitution Washington State Democrats Republicans Los Angeles Vote-by-Mail Hawaii Donald Trump Gavin Newsom Alex Padilla Election 2020 U.S. Postal Service Louis DeJoy Ventura County APWU https://bradblog.com/?p=13511 This will not be easy. It never is. But, this year, we are facing obstacles to voting that we have never seen before. Not only from the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, which is already difficult enough, but from those who hope to exploit the pandemic along with their access to the levers of power to make voting --- by some --- as difficult as possible. It is now up to all of us to overcome those obstacles.

    President Trump is, by no means, the first right-wing Republican to recognize that he can't win if voters turn out in large numbers.

    "I don't want everybody to vote," Paul Weyrich, the GOP's notorious godfather of right-wing voter suppression infamously quipped during a 1980 address to a group of evangelical Christian ministers. "In fact, our leverage in the elections goes up as the voting populace goes down," he added, after denigrating those who seek "good government" through maximum, informed voter participation, as people who suffer from "goo goo syndrome".

    (The soaring pandemic death toll and an unprecedented 32.9% annualized second quarterly plunge in the GDP, serve as testament to what happens when We the People allow those opposed to "good government" to be placed in charge of our political economy.)

    Trump's repeated attempts to suppress voter turnout are by no means novel --- as amply demonstrated during our two-part coverage (here and here) of the 2011 U.S. Senate hearings concerning a spike in GOP-engineered, state voter suppression laws. During those hearings nearly a decade ago, civil rights litigator Judith Browne Dianis described that spike as "the largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era."

    What makes our current circumstance both novel and extraordinarily dangerous is that an authoritarian-wannabe Donald Trump is the first Republican President who has been positioned to weaponize a pandemic by forcing voters to choose between exercising their fundamental right to vote and the risk of contracting a deadly virus. Instead of simply relying upon state voter suppression laws, Trump has aspired to engage in wholesale suppression on a national scale. Operating through a major GOP/Trump donor-turned-Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, Trump seeks to actively sabotage the social distancing protection that Vote-by-Mail (VBM) affords by creating delays in U.S. Postal Service (USPS) deliveries.

    Last Friday, during a must-listen-to segment of The BradCast, Mark Dimondstein, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), confirmed that mail slow-downs were "happening across the country" at a time in which the USPS was already in "crisis mode" as a result of the dangers posed by COVID-19. In his view, the Post Office is now at the "epicenter" of the 2020 battle over "voting rights", noting that "without Vote-by-Mail people aren't going to be able to vote."

    Thus, in addition to fending off "dubious" Republican legal challenges to mail-in voting expansion, democracy's defenders --- which, in this case, includes We the People --- must now double our own efforts to navigate Trump's sabotage of mail delivery. This, at a time when election officials in states that have not previously engaged in near-universal VBM must upgrade their electoral infrastructure in order to accommodate and tabulate an unprecedented volume of hand-marked paper VBM ballots.

    But there are proactive steps that jurisdictions --- and, yes, you! --- can take to maximize the odds that your ballot is tallied this year...

    Learning from the experienced

    "Seven-in-ten adults favor allowing any voter" to cast a VBM ballot, according to Pew Research. That desire is shared by Colorado's Democratic Secretary of State Jenna Griswold, who, during a must-watch July 31 segment of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show, told guest-host Ali Velshi that she favors the enactment of VBM for all, "immediately."

    Griswold's enthusiastic support for universal VBM partially derives from her public safety concerns. "Unlike Donald Trump," she said, "I do not want to force Americans to risk their health to cast their ballot." She likened VBM to wearing a mask: "it saves lives." Her support is also driven by objective criteria reflecting that, since her state switched to all-VBM elections in 2014, democracy-enhancing voter participation has soared.

    Of course, the task is relatively easy for election officials in the five states --- Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah --- that have previously conducted all-VBM elections. Those states may be more able to overcome Trump's mail slowdown via minor systemic tweaks, such as moving up the date when VBM ballots should be mailed to voters. But, to varying degrees, other state election officials face a more daunting challenge with respect to the infrastructure needed to timely collect, process and tally massive numbers of hand-marked VBM paper ballots.

    During the last Presidential Election, for example, only 2% of Kentucky voters cast mail-in ballots, according to Pew. Yet VBM ballots accounted for 85% of all votes cast during this year's primary election in the Bluegrass State. The state's delay in counting those ballots after the election will almost certainly be exacerbated, according to local officials, with a far larger number of such ballots anticipated to be cast in the November general election. Each requires one-by-one manual authentication before it is electronically scanned and tallied.

    For less experienced states, Velshi noted, citing an ABC News account, legislative and executive orders to expand VBM have created a rush "to line up the best vendors for printing and distributing [VBM] paper ballots." State and local election officials have been hard at work, amending VBM "ballot rules" and creating plans "to hire and train enough workers," Velshi reported.

    One thing you can do today to help with this potential democracy-crushing quagmire is volunteer in your local jurisdiction to become a poll worker if you are healthy and young enough not to be in one of the groups most vulnerable to COVID-19. Poll worker shortages are already leading to the closure of many in-person polling places around the country and the processing of incoming VBM ballots will be a monumental task this year. Your cautious help --- wear masks, use hand sanitizers, social distance to the extent possible --- is greatly needed! And you make some money to boot!

    As to handling the tens of millions of ballots that will be cast by mail, Velshi went on to assert that under-experienced election officials would do well to consult with their counterparts in states that previously converted to near universal mail-in voting. Griswold agreed. In fact, she reported that she has already been working with other Secretaries of State from across the nation. Of course, she added, "investments" must be made so that her counterparts can effectuate needed changes --- a not insignificant obstacle for states, whose financial resources have been consumed by the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Secretaries of State would also do well to review Oregon's Vote by Mail Procedures Manual [PDF], given that the Beaver State has amassed quite a bit of knowledge from experience, having been the first to switch to all VBM voting in 1996.

    Expedited VBM distribution

    Like Connecticut, which is considering the elimination of its excuse requirement for the November election, most states are going through a multi-step VBM process that renders them more vulnerable to Trump's slowdown of USPS mail deliveries. State or county election officials in many such states are mailing absentee ballot request forms to registered voters. Voters who desire to vote by mail, send their completed absentee request form back to either a county or municipality's elections office or to the Office of the Secretary of State. In those states, the VBM ballot is mailed to voters only after election officials receive and process the completed absentee ballot request --- a process that places a premium on early voter submission of the request. In some states, as had previously been the case in California, a voter could ask to become permanent VBM voters to receive absentee ballots in all future elections.

    Many states allow VBM requests to be made online to help streamline this process, but no state should ever allow for the transmittal of voted ballots online, let alone engage in the insanity of Internet voting. As observed by Ronald L. Rivest, an MIT Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, "Secure Internet voting is a bit like the phrase 'safe cigarettes.'"

    Recently, California joined with the other five all VBM states by eliminating the need for voters to first submit an absentee request form. Golden State election officials will now automatically mail VBM ballots to all active registered voters in advance of the November 3 election. (Should they so desire, California voters retain the option to eschew VBM and cast an in-person ballot.) Late, first-time registering voters, or those not considered to be "active" by the state, or those who have changed their address since the last time they voted without having changed their registration record with the state, may have to vote in-person, as they may not receive either a ballot or an absentee ballot request form by mail.

    Now is the perfect time for voters to check their registrations to make sure they are up to date, with accurate addresses, or register to vote if you have not done so already. You can get information on how to do that in your state vis this helpful 2020 Voters Calendar website. It offers links for registering and updating records in each of the 50 states, along with deadlines for registration and the submission of VBM ballots in each.

    During her appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show, Griswold told Velshi that Colorado mails VBM ballots to its voters about three weeks before an election. Given the Trump mail slowdown, Griswold would do well to consider moving up the date her state sends VBM ballots to voters to perhaps five weeks before the election.

    Drop-boxes and tracking

    If widely utilized, two VBM innovations --- secure drop-boxes and ballot tracking --- offer convenient means by which citizens can evade Trump's insidious mail slowdown roadblock. Indeed, their value as an alternative to utilization of the USPS was recognized by Secretary Griswold even before the recently mandated mail slow down. About one week prior to each election, her office informs "Coloradans" to stop utilizing the the USPS because their VBM ballots must be received by Election Day. "That's why we have hundreds of mail ballot drop-boxes across the state," the CO Sec. of State explained to Velshi.

    The American Postal Workers Union President, according to his Friday interview on The BradCast, advised similarly, noting that drop-boxes are available in some jurisdictions, and VBM ballots can also be dropped off in person at most election office headquarters.

    In his Executive Order [PDF], authorizing all Connecticut voters to cast VBM ballots during that state's August 11 primary, Democratic Governor Ned Lamont observed that "secure and tamper-proof drop-boxes manufactured specifically for the purpose of voting, offer a safe and secure way for voters to deliver absentee ballots to election officials without in-person interactions that could increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19."

    California's Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla has adopted a series of regulations that could serve as a model for the rest of the nation. These include a mandate that every one of the Golden State's 58 counties provide one or more VBM "drop-off locations" or secure "drop boxes". The regulations also provide detailed security procedures for the collection of VBM ballots deposited in drop-boxes and for maintaining a secure chain-of-custody for collected VBM ballots.

    Pursuant to Padilla's regulations, VBM drop-off locations and drop-box hours are determined by county election officials. County officials must publicly announce the locations of drop-off locations and drop-boxes at least 30 days prior to the election. They must also notify the Secretary of State so the information can be published on the SoS website as well.

    Based upon a July 31 email response from Rebecca Moak, a clerk at the Ventura County, CA Registrar's Office, it appears that the Golden State's enthusiasm for the utilization of secure drop-boxes is shared by local officials and voters alike. She tells us that, during California's March primary, the County's 10 drop-boxes "were heavily used" and that the County was looking to expand to a "total of 31 locations" for the November election. Those drop-off locations will be listed "in the County Voter Information Guides mailed out in late September and also located [on the County Registrars'] website."

    California does afford some leeway for late-delivered VBM ballots processed by the USPS. So long as they are postmarked no later than Nov. 3, a VBM ballot will be processed if the ballot is received by elections officials on or before Nov. 20.

    Like a number of other states, California also permits voters to personally deliver their VBM ballot to their local precinct on Election Day. (Check your local jurisdiction to make sure this option is available there!) Ordinarily, that would be the ideal means for assuring that local election officials receive a VBM ballot. However, during the upcoming Presidential Election, precinct drop-off could conflict with the need to maintain social distancing for some.

    There is another means by which voters can verify that their VBM ballot was not only received but processed. "Colorado," Velshi noted, "implemented the first intelligent ballot-tracking program. Election officials use an intelligent mail barcode that is specific to the voter's envelope. It allows voters to track the ballot at every step of the process." California adopted the same VBM ballot tracking system via an Executive Order issued by Gov. Newsom, according to Padilla's website, which includes a link where voters can access "automatic updates on the status" of their mail-in ballots.

    VBM processing, tabulation and risks

    As discussed in a recent paper [PDF] authored by several academics, including University of Florida Prof. Daniel A. Smith, VBM carries with it a risk that one's ballot will be rejected for reasons that do not exist for in-person voters.

    In most states, a VBM ballot will not be processed or tallied unless the voter dated and signed their return envelope. Some states impose the added burden --- made even worse during the COVID pandemic --- of having to sign the ballot before a notary or two witnesses.

    Smith et al are critical of disturbingly high absentee ballot rejection rates based on a possible lack of match between ballot envelope signatures and those that appear on a voter's registration form, many of which may have been signed years ago, as signatures change over time. They are not alone in their concern. Disparate county-by-county, subjective signature mismatch determinations, provided the source of a 2018 federal lawsuit filed by attorney Marc Elias on behalf of the Florida Democratic Party. Elias alleged the mismatch signature rejections, sans a uniform standard, were arbitrary. The lawsuit produced a federal court order mandating at the time that election officials provide some 4,000 FL voters with the opportunity to cure the signature mismatch determinations in order to have their ballots counted.

    Ideally, states should offer voters an opportunity to cure even with respect to failures to date and sign the return envelope. For example, Los Angeles County will mail an "Unsigned Ballot Statement" (UBS) to a voter who has failed to date and sign their return envelope. The voter can then cure the deficiency by returning a verification of their signature on the UBS up to 28 days after the election. Where available, as in Colorado and California, voters should actively track their VBM ballots to assure that they have been processed and tallied.

    Once all obstacles, security provisions and/or errors are overcome, states then utilize computer optical-scanners to tabulate the VBM ballot. Although optical scan systems, like all forms of automated tabulation, are vulnerable to illegal manipulation or programming error, according to a recent academic paper authored by computer scientists Andrew Appel (Princeton), Richard DeMillo (Georgia Tech) and Philip B. Stark (U.C. Berkeley), that potential can be minimized via a post-election "Risk-Limiting Audit" (RLA) --- manually inspecting a sampling of randomly selected paper ballots following a rigorous protocol. "The audit stops if and when the sample provides convincing evidence that the reported outcome is correct."

    The other factor is time. Unlike the protracted litigation which delayed the seating of former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) for more than six months in 2009 after his term was to have started, when it comes to the elections of Presidents and Vice Presidents, the U.S. Constitution imposes strict time limits. A state has to resolve tabulation disputes by Dec. 8 so that the Electoral College can meet to cast its votes on Dec. 14.

    Because this will primarily be a VBM election, states would do well to follow California's lead in getting a jump on early tabulation of VBM ballots. Under the provisions of AB-860, which Gov. Newsom signed into law on June 18, 2020, county election officials who possess vote tallying machines (presumably optical scanners) can "begin processing [VBM] ballots on the 29th day before the election" --- a date which coincides with the first date CA voters can deposit their ballots into a drop-box.

    "Processing [VBM ballots] includes opening [VBM] return envelopes, removing ballots, duplicating any damaged ballots, and preparing the ballots to be machine read, or machine reading them, including processing write-in votes so that they can be tallied by the machine, but under no circumstances may a vote count be accessed or released until 8 p.m. on the day of the election," according to the new CA provision.

    Your part in holding up our 'last firewall'

    Nothing will be easy this year. Nothing should be taken for granted. Each of us must take care to overcome the many hurdles being erected to prevent votes from being cast or counted. We must also help others to do the same. This is not a drill. There is a very real danger that what is left of our American democracy is being actively undermined by those who oppose it and fear it. Please learn and plan now for what you must do to make sure you are aware of the obstacles you are likely to face and create a plan to overcome them. Then make sure that your friends, family members and co-workers do so as well.

    This election, incredibly enough, is our last firewall to stave off potential all-out autocracy. Nothing should be taken for granted this year. Educate yourself on what must be done. Inform others about what must be done to preserve our democracy.

    We are all in this mess together, and we will all have to get out of it together. Start planning your efforts today!

    Brad Friedman contributed to this article.

    * * *
    Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, and Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). He previously served as a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. Canning has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing


    ]]>
    https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=13511
    Sunday 'Is What' Toons https://bradblog.com/?p=13521 https://bradblog.com/?p=13521#comments Sun, 09 Aug 2020 13:08:25 +0000 PDiddie Toons https://bradblog.com/?p=13521

    * * *
    Perry Dorrell blogs as PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, usually on topics concerning
    the strange brew of Texas politics. He's also on Twitter @PDiddie.


    ]]>
    https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=13521
    Postal Workers Union President: 'Mail is Being Slowed Down...Everywhere': 'BradCast' 8/7/2020 https://bradblog.com/?p=13520 https://bradblog.com/?p=13520#comments Sat, 08 Aug 2020 02:25:37 +0000 Brad Friedman Election Irregularities Ohio North Carolina Tennessee BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Election Fraud U.S. Constitution Dirty Tricks U.S. Senate Vote-by-Mail KPFK Donald Trump BradCast Mike DeWine Election 2020 Coronavirus/COVID-19 U.S. Postal Service Louis DeJoy APWU Marquita Bradshaw Bill Hagerty https://bradblog.com/?p=13520 On today's BradCast: Never mind the pre-election polling numbers you are hearing. Given the way Donald Trump and his Administration and acolytes around the country are actively working to undermine this year's November 3rd general elections, you'd make a mistake to place Joe Biden's odds of being declared the winner at any better than 50/50 at best at this point. Disturbing comments from our guest today only underscore that concern yet again. [Audio link for today's must-listen show is posted at bottom of article.]

    But first up today --- after quick news that, contrary to yesterday's reporting, a second COVID test for the Governor of Ohio Mike DeWine appears to show he is actually, and happily, negative for the coronavirus --- we cover the stunning election news out of Tennessee on Thursday night. If the computer-tallied results of the Democratic Primary yesterday for U.S. Senate there can be believed, Marquita Bradshaw, a progressive African-American environmental activist supporting Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, has won the party's nomination to run for the seat being vacated by TN's longtime GOP Senator Lamar Alexander this November.

    Bradshaw's campaign raised less than $10,000, according to FEC records, yet she reportedly defeated the Dem establishment-backed James Mackler who, with the support of Chuck Schumer's Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, had raised more than $2 million for his campaign while only managing to come in THIRD in yesterday's contest! That's right, Bradshaw was outspent 250 to 1, but appears at least, to have easily defeated both Mackler and everyone else in the race according to the still-unofficial results.

    Unless an error in tabulation is discovered, Bradshaw will go on to challenge Trump's former Ambassador to Japan, Bill Hagerty, in November. He overcame a serious challenge in a contest that placed the Trump and Mitch McConnell-endorsed Hagerty against the Ted Cruz and Rand Paul-endorsed Manny Sethi. The far-rightwing Hagerty recently resigned from the board of a brokerage firm after they expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement. He will now run against a black activist in TN, which has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1990. But, if Bradshaw could win after being outspent 250 to 1, who knows what may happen in November?

    That said, the GOP dirty tricks this year are already underway. According to an email from our friend Tom Sullivan, a longtime blogger at Digby's Hullabaloo from the closely divided battleground state of North Carolina, some Democratic voters are now reportedly receiving phone calls purporting to be from the Board of Elections, falsely telling them they "no longer need to request an absentee ballot." That is completely false. If NC voters wish to vote by mail this year in the Tarheel State, they WILL need to request an absentee ballot --- though they can deliver their ballot by hand at county Boards of Elections, or even vote in-person later if they change their mind.

    Dirty tricks from Republican activists, sadly, is nothing new, but bad enough. Especially in NC! But when the dirty tricks are coming from inside the White House itself, that is a matter of entirely different proportions. Shamefully, even as the President of the United States continues to make false claims about absentee voting (after fraudulently doing so himself!), Donald Trump's recently appointed Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, is now undermining the U.S. Postal Service itself in advance of what will be, by far, the largest Vote-by-Mail elections in all 50 states in the nation's history. The Republican Trump mega-donor DeJoy, with no previous USPS experience, issued several directives upon taking office in June that have resulted in the slow down of mail delivery. And while both DeJoy and other leadership at the 250-year old Postal Service (whose first Postmaster General was Benjamin Franklin) have claimed the new directives are not aimed at slowing down mail or doing Trump's bidding to undermine absentee voting, our guest today, MARK DIMONDSTEIN, President of the American Postal Workers Union and Postal Service worker since 1983, charges that is exactly what is happening.

    The new directives, purportedly meant as efficiency measures to curb overtime costs, "can't do anything but slow down mail," says Dimondstein. "Our understanding is that it's really happening all over the country, and it needs to be reversed. It needs to be stopped." The APWU chief, representing more than 200,000 postal workers, charges the new measures, which direct carriers to leave mail behind at sorting stations if waiting for it will delay their route, "runs counter to our DNA. Our DNA as a postal worker is to serve the customer, leave no mail behind, treat it as if it is our own."

    The USPS is in crisis mode now, as coronavirus lockdowns have severely curbed regular mail delivery --- though package delivery has increased, he tells me, helping to mitigate that loss somewhat. The Post Office is funded entirely by postage, not tax payer dollars, but its Republican-dominated Board of Governor's, he says, unanimously voted to request a $25 billion emergency bailout from Congress earlier this year. While almost every other company in the nation has received crisis funding during the pandemic, Republicans in Congress and the White House have continued to block the request. "The Post Office does not run on tax dollars in normal times, it runs off the revenue. So if the revenue is not there, then the Post Office will run out of money," Dimondstein warns. "It's not a question of if, it's a question of when."

    He goes on to respond to a host of questions, including on the safety (and necessity) of Vote-by-Mail and the President's attempts to undermine it. "Vote-by-Mail is nothing new for postal workers. We've been doing this for generations. Military personnel have been voting by mail since the days of the Civil War...And of course now, with the pandemic, it's a question of access to the ballot box at all for tens of millions of people who want to vote safely," he tells me, noting ironically that "Trump trusts us to deliver his mail-in ballot!"

    We discuss what he describes as the "tremendous impact of COVID on the workforce," which has seen 40,000 workers quarantined and more than 2,500 who have tested positive, and why Donald Trump has had it out for so long --- even before the coronavirus --- for the Postal Service, which Trump has called "a joke". Contrary to popular speculation, Dimondstein doesn't believe Trump's antagonism is due to his dispute with Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon which works closely with USPS. He believes it's based on little more than interest by Trump and other corporatists to privatize and profit from the massive customer base served by the USPS every day at all 160 million addresses across the country, six days a week.

    "The idea that the Postal Service is a joke is an insult to every dedicated postal worker. 600,000 plus strong," says Dimondstein. "Out here in this pandemic, on the front lines, can you imagine how we all feel hearing that? And it's an insult to the customers. 91% of the people in this country, in the latest Pew Research Poll [support USPS]. The Postal Service always rates the highest. This year, it was the highest ever, I think out of a deeper appreciation for the role of postal workers in this pandemic."

    "The country just laid to rest John Lewis," Dimondstein notes. "His historic role in this country, courageously done, was the question of voting rights for African-Americans in the South of the United States. And it was courageous. He was almost beaten to death. Voting rights now is right here at the epicenter of what's going on right now, and the Post Office is right in the middle of this thing. Because without Vote-by-Mail, people aren't going to be able to vote. It's as simple as that. Tens of millions of people, from seniors to young people, just will not be able to vote during this pandemic if they don't have good access to Vote-by-Mail and don't have the states step up. We have to worry about some of these states that don't want people to vote. That's the reality."

    When asked how long before Election Day Dimondstein would advise voters get their absentee ballot into the mail to ensure it arrives n time to be counted, he recommends that if you haven't mailed it by the Tuesday or Wednesday before Election Day, you'd be wise to try and drop it off in person at your precinct or local County headquarters. (Check your own jurisdiction to find out what is allowed, as the laws are different in each state and sometimes each county or municipality.)

    There's much more in our conversation, but you get the idea. Please tune in for the full conversation.

    Finally today, with the actual President of the United States now actively attacking the Post Office, the U.S. Census and democratic elections themselves --- all three, core elements of American democracy, each specifically cited by the U.S. Constitution itself! --- can there be any better reason to defend the nation and its Constitution by voting this guy out of office? With that in mind, we end with a bit of inspiration from satirist Roy Zimmerman's brand-new, updated version of his already-classic ear-worm parody tune, "Vote Him Away!"...

    Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]

    * * *
    While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
    * * *

    MONTHLY BRAD BLOG SUBSCRIPTION
    ONE-TIME DONATION


    Choose monthly amount...


    (Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)


    ]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=13520 National Ripoff Association: NY A.G. Sues NRA for Financial Fraud and to Dissolve the Organization: 'BradCast' 8/6/2020 https://bradblog.com/?p=13519 https://bradblog.com/?p=13519#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2020 01:41:27 +0000 Brad Friedman (Uncategorized) Ohio BRAD BLOG Media Appearance New York Accountability Republicans Economy Michelle Obama KPFK Donald Trump Extreme weather NRA/Gun Violence IRS/Taxes BradCast Mike DeWine NOAA Dept. of Labor Trump Foundation Trump Organization Letitia James Deutsche Bank Coronavirus/COVID-19 Wayne LaPierre Cyrus Vance, Jr. https://bradblog.com/?p=13519 Michelle Obama says that quarantine, racial strife and the "day in and day out" "hypocrisy" of the Trump Administration has left her wrestling with "low-grade depression". We know the feeling and suspect you do as well. But, as we noted almost four years ago here on the BradCast, we're all going through this nightmare together. We said we'd be here with you throughout, and we still are. And we will come through this together. [Audio link to show is posted below the following summary.]

    All of our stories today's are today's top story. And we couldn't even get to all of them. But we tried. Among those stories...

    • Ohio's Republican Governor Mike DeWine tested positive today for the coronavirus just minutes before he was to meet with the President. Lucky for him --- and the President --- that everyone who meets with Donald Trump must be tested first. If we were all only as lucky as the President; Trump was in Ohio today to sing the praises of the "economic prosperity" his Administration has brought to the nation (and attend a fund raiser for his reelection). [UPDATE POST-SHOW, 7:49p PT: A more sensitive test finds DeWine negative for COVID-19 after all!]

    • That "economic prosperity", according to the Labor Department today, includes another 1.2 million Americans who newly filed for unemployment last week. It was the 20th straight week with more than one million new jobless claims. Before the pandemic, the all time highest number of weekly jobless claims was 695,000. More than 31 million Americans are now out of work as they enjoy Trump's "economic prosperity" as the GDP fell a record annualized rate of nearly 33% in the second quarter. It took three years of the Great Depression before we even got close to an annualized negative 30%. During the Great Recession, we only ever topped out at about negative 8%. Other than that, how about all that "economic prosperity" thanks to Donald Trump?!;
    • As bad as things are, they are likely to get much MUCH worse, unless Republicans in Congress and at the White House get their act together and quickly. The $600/week expanded unemployment payments from an earlier COVID emergency relief bill for those 30 million or so unemployed Americans has now expired. The moratorium on evictions has also ended. But Republicans and the White House are still unable to put together a new relief package that can pass Congress. Democrats in the House already adopted a $3 trillion package to extend unemployment, the eviction moratorium, and give hundreds of billions to cash-strapped states, cities and hospitals, not to mention the U.S. Postal Service months ago. Tens of thousands of deaths later, however, we're still waiting on the GOP and the Administration to take action. How many will be homeless, starving or dead before they do?;
    • In some brighter news --- at least for those who weren't suckers enough to donate money to the con-artists at the terrorist-supporting National Rifle Association --- New York state's Attorney General Letitia James sued the NRA on Thursday, charging massive financial fraud by its leaders and seeking to dissolve the once-powerful, now wholly corrupt 150-year old organization. James' civil suit details a gobsmacking amount of corruption and unlawful self-dealing by the NRA's leader Wayne LaPierre (pictured above) and four other top officials. It alleges the "non-profit's" executives diverted tens of millions of dollars to themselves for lavish personal vacations and other personal expenses, no-show contracts for associates --- including family members and girlfriends --- and even secret contracts created for themselves. LaPierre is alleged to have hidden millions of dollars in personal income from the IRS in the bargain. James is seeking to shutdown the organization's charter as a non-profit organization established in New York, and to bar the executives for life from holding any major role in any charitable organization. Donald Trump said today that he thinks the matter is "a very terrible thing"...for the NRA, an ally of his, as opposed to the millions of Americans who have been ripped off by rightwing political group of grifters;
    • But James' announcement today may just be a preview of wait awaits Trump himself (along with his associates and family members) down the road. While James already shut down Trump's own so-called "charitable" organization for similar fraud and self dealing, and the President was forced to cough up $25 million dollars just after his 2016 election to settle fraud complaints against his "Trump University" scam, the worst may still be ahead him. The New York Times revealed on Wednesday night that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. successfully subpoenaed Deutsche Bank last year --- one of the only banks willing to loan him money --- for years of financial documents from the Trump Organization. Trump had sued both Deutsche Bank and his accounting firm Mazars USA to prevent them from turning over financial records in response to subpoenas from Congress, and sued Mazars to prevent them from giving similar tax-related statements to Vance --- successfully stalling the prosecutor, who now has clearance from SCOTUS to pursue that subpoena. But Trump apparently failed to prevent Deutsche Bank, which loaned him some $2 billion over the years, from responding to the subpoena from Vance. The documents now reportedly in the DA's possession are believed to reveal that Trump vastly and fraudulently over-inflated his personal assets (we know, doesn't sound like him at all, right?) Last week, Vance argued before a federal court that Trump's tax records were needed from Mazars as part of his investigation into public reports of "extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization." Given that we have now learned Vance already has many of Trump's financial documents from the German bank, it sounds like the District Attorney knows exactly what he expects to find in the rest of the documents he is seeking;
    • Finally today, after some quick and disturbing news from NOAA about this year's already-record Atlantic Hurricane season on what we are now likely to see over the next four months as it continues, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report. It, too, is chock full of quick and disturbing news....but also some very encouraging news here and there and wherever else we can find it...

    Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]

    * * *
    While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
    * * *

    MONTHLY BRAD BLOG SUBSCRIPTION
    ONE-TIME DONATION


    Choose monthly amount...


    (Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)


    ]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=13519